Friday, August 29, 2008

Chris Sligh Concert Reflections

Wow. There are so many thoughts and emotions running through my mind right now on top of being worn out. I am feeling more random thoughts than straight prose.
  • Chris Sligh is a talented young man. He has assembled a very talented band, as well. They were a breeze to work with.
  • Chris has a soaring voice, humble spirit and quick wit-- a nice combination.
  • This testimonial was heard straight from Chris' mouth, as well as, his tour manager, Clint, "Stan Bowman is the best sound man I have ever worked with." Amen and amen.
  • Andy Leonard did a great job helping to pull this concert together, thanks man.
  • Thanks to my WCQR family for working with ISBC on this-- a win, win, win.
  • Name the last Christian concert in which you heard covers of Beatles, N'Sync, and Bon Jovi.
  • I won't start naming names, but thanks to my catering crew, sound and light crew, ticket sales and taking crew, merchandise sales crew, parking lot greeting crew, safety and security crew and everyone else who gave so much of themselves to pull off a tremendous evening without so much as a hiccup. I thank God for placing me among such a great group of folks, so generous with their time and talents.
  • Thanks to the pastoral staff and administrative staff at ISBC for supporting the effort so strongly.
  • Chris made no pretense about setting a large fan front and center stage directly in front of him. It kept him cool while gently blowing through his fro. As fellow chubby boys, Pastor Roc and I are on the lookout for a similar set up when we preach or teach.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Being As Objective As I Can Be...

I must reflect on the Democratic National Convention.

About two years ago, I called a plumber for the first time in my life since becoming a home owner. My kitchen sink was draining extremely slowly and my efforts to clear the blockage were to no avail. The process of selecting the plumber went something like this. First, I considered the plumbers I was familiar with. All those that had traded with us when I worked at my father's service station began to come back to my mind. Of those, I thought about the ones who had the most experience. Then I thought of the ones people I love and respect have used before. I came up with one who matched the aforementioned criteria. That plumber came and did a magnificent job. I will call that company again in the future.

What does that have to do with the DNC? Well, if I can suspend reality long enough to pretend that I am a democrat, I will explain.

I have known many democrats with whom I have had great rapport. Although we disagreed on things like big government, taxes, abortion, gay marriage, and the like, we did so in a civil manner. Many democrats I have known were stand-up individuals, whose word was their bond. But now in a very critical moment in time when the economy is at a crossroads, the foreign policy issues are ever-increasing, and something desperately has to be done about our dependence on foreign oil (i.e.-the sink is clogged)--- the best democrat we can roll out is a guy whose only political experience is 8 years in the Illinois state senate and 3 years in the US Senate with the last year of that being spent campaigning for President (i.e.- a plumber without much gravitas). Metaphorically speaking, Obama is the plumber who is showing way too much rear end. What is up with that? How does that happen? Are we, as a nation, that swayed by someone who simply made a good speech a few years ago and who seems to carry himself well?

I need more than that and I think our country needs and deserves more than that. As Forrest Gump says, "That's all I have to say about that."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lelo's Sandwich Shop: A Hidden Gem

I don't make a habit of doing this- making my blog a forum to plug businesses. But I am today. One of my duties at WCQR is to handle all the Mission 25:40 Community Focus interviews. They air every Saturday morning at 7AM. These interviews highlight different non-profit ministries and organizations in the region. Back in March, I had the privilege of interviewing Ramiro Perez, the pastor of Iglesia Cristiana East River Park in Elizabethton (the Hispanic congregation that meets at East River Park Christian Church). Ramiro and his daughter were a delight to interview and they are doing good work with the Hispanic community in that area. Following the interview, we wished each other well and went on our way.

Today, I went to The Stock Pot on Hanover Road in Johnson City to shop for some things I need for the Student Assembly Center at church. As I walked around, I heard a voice call my name and Ramiro walked up to me. In order to make ends meet, Ramiro and his wife have opened up a sandwich shop inside The Stock Pot called Lelo's. He specializes in authentic sandwiches from his native Cuba. He makes several kinds of grilled (pressed) sandwiches featuring pork, roasted and pulled on site, Cuban bread, and sides of black bean soup, and black beans and rice.

Ramiro was gracious enough (or smart enough) to whip up a few sample sandwiches for me - Best Cuban sandwich I have ever tried! Now, the place is not very large and I probably wouldn't want to entertain swanky customers there, but if you would like something different and REALLY good for lunch, give Lelo's a try. I am all about helping a fellow laborer when at all possible, and when there is food involved in the process, well, that doesn't hurt the cause either.

They are open for lunch 10:30AM-3:30PM, inside the Stock Pot on Hanover Road in Johnson City. You can call ahead if you like, 423-854-9200. Tell 'em Tiger sent you!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chris Sligh Concert Tickets

The Chris Sligh Back-To-School Tour rolls into Indian Springs Baptist Church on Thursday, August 28 at 7 PM.

Tickets are $10 and are on sale at LifeWay Christian Bookstores in Johnson City and Kingsport, Christian Book Warehouse in Bristol, WCQR studios and Indian Springs Baptist Church. All are reporting good sales.

There seems to be a good build-up to this concert. I have answered lots of questions and I would NOT put off buying tickets if you were inclined to do so. We are only selling 600 tickets and some of my student ministry buddies are snatching them up.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Protecting Our Kids AND Our Churches... A Good Thing To Do

Last Sunday night my church convened for a quarterly business meeting. Among the many things that were voted on and discussed was a proposed policy that addressed the security and protection of children and students through age 18. One key element of the multi-faceted proposal was the requirement to perform a background check on any and all church staff or volunteers who work with our children. If a person is enlisted to assist with a single event, they will have a background check. After some discussion and a question and answer session, a vote was taken and it was unanimously adopted.

As a person who is paid to minister to students, I was ecstatic that my church voted to put things into place that would help protect not only our students, but ME as well. You see, as someone who has only been in this particular church for 6 months and is still learning names and faces, I do not have to be concerned when a church member (but still a stranger to me) comes up to ask if they can assist me with the student ministry. Rather than be suspicious and always questioning, I just have to have them fill out a form and know whether that person is fit or unfit, from a legal standpoint, to be working with kids. The pressure is off. Our church decided to make the good faith effort to do what was reasonably expected of an institution that claims to love its members.

Love can be defined as actively doing all one can to offer protection and provision to another. As the church of Jesus Christ, we owe it to our children and to the adults that work with them to create an environment in which all parties can be comfortable and confident. We live in a fallen, imperfect world. The society in which we live today is not the same as that of decades ago. Some of it is for the better- race relations, health care, etc. Much of it is worse-- sanctity of life, crime, moral decline, permissiveness, etc. There are factions and elements of darkness in our society that would like nothing better than to prey upon our kids and to bring reproach upon the church. In Matthew 10, Jesus was dispatching His disciples among people who sought to do the same things and He warned them saying, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Some things never change. To mix a metaphor, the wolves are still skulking around the gate, waiting and watching.

Shrewd As Snakes
It is incumbent upon the church to be smart and not stick our heads in the sand laying claim to the adage, "That kind of stuff can't happen here." Unfortunately, things HAVE happened, ARE happening, and WILL continue to happen in places where people have uttered those same words. I think shrewdness in this context is putting policies and procedures in place so that prospective church members can be comforted, current church members can be confident, and the courts can be content that all reasonable efforts have been made to protect and provide for the children.

Innocent As Doves
While no policy or procedure will prevent sin or evil from rearing its ugly head, they can certainly mitigate bad circumstances and at least make it so that the church can continue to function after something bad has happened. We have to be above reproach in all we do as a church. In the fourth chapter of his epistle, James says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." That's all I need to hear.

Thanks, ISBC, for doing the good you ought to do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bigfoot Body Found... Stay Tuned

Fox News online is reporting that some Bigfoot trackers have a body, photo and DNA which will be seen in a press conference on Friday. Here is a link to the story: Bigfoot

I have been intrigued by Bigfoot legends since I was a kid. Cool.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Random Thoughts and Stories On Life and the Olympics

Interesting Trip To Targe'

Last Friday, Paige and I went to Targe' (that is Target for those of you playing along at home.) We had dropped Ellie off at school (that feels weird to type) and were trying to make the most of our time. While there I had an encounter with The Oracle.

I was wearing a Tennessee t-shirt and was walking along minding my own business when a man drove his little Targe' Hoveround Scooter up to me and began to prophesy-- I am not kidding! He said, "I like your shirt. What do you think the Vols chances are?"

I answered the way any orange-blooded fan answers in the second week of August, "I think this may be the year, " I said with a smile.

Then it came.

"They will go undefeated the next two years and win back-to-back national championships," said the Oracle rather matter of factly. He went on to say that some fortune teller had let him in on that little nugget. Then, just as quickly as he rode up on me, he throttled away toward housewares.

Other than feeling as though I was ceremonially unclean and in need of repentance for having had an audience with the Targe' Oracle, my football spirits were bolstered. I found the whole encounter to be kind of surreal. "Have I just entered the Matrix?" I wondered.

Ellie is loving school. She is going all day now and having a ball. That is a great relief.
  • I went into the office at Ellie's school and on the wall were two, large posters each containing what it claimed to be a "Chinese proverb." Do you think they would allow me to gift them two posters that contained Hebrew proverbs? How long would they be able to stay? I really get tired of the double standard.

  • Tonight, we went to Discovery Ice Cream and it was getting late so we got it to go. On the way home, Ellie was sitting in the back of my truck eating her cotton candy flavored ice cream when we passed a police officer in his cruiser. All the sudden Ellie yells, "The Police! Act naturally!" She thought we shouldn't be eating ice cream while riding in the truck. I thought I was going to swerve into him I was laughing so hard. That Disney Channel has got to go.

The Olympics

  • The opening ceremony was truly astounding. Words can't describe it. I just wonder what the outcry would be like if there were a ceremony that had as much Christian overtones as that one had Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

  • Now we begin to hear the stories of how the cute little 9-year-old girl who "sang" really lip-synced to the voice of another little girl who was deemed unworthy due to her "buck teeth." Can we expect anything different from the Chinese?

  • I am enjoying watching the games. May I just say that the DVR is the greatest thing since the invention of the remote control. I don't have to watch synchronized diving. Who decided that was worthy to be called a sport? I don't have a problem with regular diving. I just don't see the allure of two people jumping in the pool together at exactly the same time and exactly the same way. We are losing baseball as an Olympic game, but we are keeping synchronized diving. Go figure.

  • Michael Phelps is simply amazing. He just broke another world-record while winning his 4th gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly-- with goggles that were completely filled with water! He can do this with his eyes closed.

  • Just as I was thinking that NBC's coverage was pretty stellar up to this point, they air a production piece in which Mary Carillo details the mating habits of the Panda. Huh? Too weird.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chris Sligh: The Back To School Tour

WCQR and Indian Springs Baptist Church are partnering to bring in former American Idol finalist and current rising Christian music artist, Chris Sligh, in concert at ISBC on Thursday, Aug. 28. Today, I dropped tickets to the Johnson City and Kingsport Lifeway's, as well as, Bristol's Christian Book Warehouse. They can also be purchased at ISBC and WCQR.

This is the first time that my two world's have collided (radio and church jobs) and I hope that it will be the first of many.

If you have not heard Chris' music, you need to. His first single, Empty Me, is currently #7 on the Christian AC charts and he has a few more on his critically-acclaimed album, Running Back To You. You can find out more by checking out his website and his blog. The later is hilarious. Chris is a very humorous guy.

Anyway, tickets are only $10 and would be a great night for the whole family... but then again... I am supposed to say that as a promoter, aren't I?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Have We Done Enough?

Today was officially the first day of school for Ellie. Although it was only a one hour orientation for students and parents, it counted as her first day. Tomorrow comes the real test... for mommie and daddy. It is the first drop off day. She will be there from 8:30 until Noon. Naturally, Paige is feeling quite a bit of anxiety about the whole situation. I, too, am feeling it. My mind, however, continuously recirculates the question, "Have we done enough?"

Starting out, the questions were rather mundane. Can Ellie recognize and write both upper and lower case letters? Can she count high enough and identify numbers? These were rather selfish questions. They speak directly to how much we, as parents, did encouraging her and working with her in her first 5 years.

Then the questions started getting a little more serious. Will this most important teacher, her kindergarten teacher, treat her the way she should be treated? Will she love Ellie and truly do her level best to instill a positive school experience? Will her classmates be kind to her? Have we taught her to share and play well with others?

Then came the big ones. Have we raised Ellie to at least have a basic understanding of who Jesus is and who He wants to be in her life? Have we told her enough times just how much Jesus loves her? Have we instilled in her the need to "love her neighbors as herself?" How much retraining will I have to do when her faith is challenged by "academia?"

I know, I know, I could go crazy hypothesizing, questioning and bouncing all this around in my head, but that is just me. When I step back and take a broader view, I realize I am at the place where faith converges with life. I can stand on the word of God and quote all the "train up a child" verses, but it is at times like this that one really comes to grips with giving up that which one cherishes most into the Hands of the One who cherishes her the most. I can live with that.